Jewish World Review Sept. 10, 2003 / 13 Elul, 5763
Slackers need to remain invisible
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | You may not have heard about National Slacker Day in Britain earlier this month due to the fact that the event's organizers lacked the motivation to tell anyone.
Which is exactly what makes National Slacker Day such a great thing. If, through sheer sluggishness, you neglect to announce the event, you leave open the possibility of other, even more listless Slacker Days down the road.
Britain's Slacker Day motto is "Stand up for your right to sit back down again," which sounds a little ambitious if you ask me. True slackers should not be standing or sitting but lying down someplace cool and dark, dreaming things of no consequence.
I do not personally refer to myself as a slacker because Upper Management does not like us affiliating ourselves with groups unless it's a certain humongous charity that takes weekly dips out of our paychecks and which I won't name here other than to say it rhymes with "Delighted Gay."
Still, I'm free to endorse the slacker code, assuming anyone had enough energy to make one up, which I seriously doubt. If I were to define a slacker, I would say it is a person who sees ambitious, hard-working people all around him and tries to balance them out. Overachieving go-getters suck the energy out of a slacker until it is all he can do to remain vertical and not drool on his keyboard.
While I have always felt that a short six- to eight-hour nap on my desk was sufficient to counterbalance the frantic activity going on all around me, I am disturbed to read that a new militancy has insinuated itself into the slacker movement, if that is indeed the right word. On the Web site www.slackerday.com there is talk of setting up a "disciplinary framework" for people who insist on working during Slacker Day. In addition, there appears to be backing for a "Shop a Workaholic" campaign, which apparently is Brit-speak for holding overachievers up to shame and ridicule and not an invitation to take them out to Saks for a new briefcase or power tie.
This trend disturbs me and seems to fly, or at least shuffle, into the face of the slacker credo that suggests that Slacker Day should involve nothing more strenuous or stressful than snapping on a mid-afternoon cooking show, preferably from the crumb-sprinkled confines of your bed.
Also, I do not see how drawing undue attention to slackers can do the movement any good. As long as our co-workers see us as nothing more than a deodorant-challenged piece of office furniture, chances are good that they'll leave us alone. But once we start posting names and just generally trying to embarrass the people whose double shifts actually make it possible for us to goof off, our lives may quickly grow more complicated and unpleasant.
As long as we do not try to turn ambitious people into something they're not, perhaps they'll leave us alone to our naps, long weekends and three-hour lunches.
There is enough tension in today's workplace without slackers stirring things up.
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09/02/03: No fun in the summertime